After turning out his best film in years with ‘Midnight in Paris’, Woody Allen’s creative revival comes to a juddering halt with a foursome of would-be amusing vignettes that barely muster a laugh between them. Rome provides an excuse for Dean Martin’s ‘Volare’ on the soundtrack, as well as an opera-themed sketch (with Woody back in front of the camera playing a retired music-biz exec convinced he’s discovered the new Pavarotti), and the ever-resistible Roberto Benigni mugging away as an average Giuseppe turned into a celeb by the brainless local media. Mostly though, the Eternal City is there for unremarkable tourist-eye footage as background filler.
Almost everything here plays like an early draft a younger Allen would have sharpened up considerably. His own co-starring turn and the Benigni segment are one-joke affairs of thudding obviousness, while elsewhere a farcical misunderstanding between two shy, provincial Italian newlyweds lands Penélope Cruz with a toe-curler of a role as a brassy prostitute who takes a hands-on approach to the plot’s mounting confusion.
Somehow Allen has landed a stellar cast with an average script, and it’s the actors who make this just about tolerable. Jesse Eisenberg does a passable Woody Jr as an architectural student falling for flirtatious neurotic Ellen Page while disregarding the sage advice of Alec Baldwin, a suave scene-stealer as Eisenberg’s imaginary advisor. Yes, there’s the occasional smile to be had, but it’s a long way from Allen’s 1972 effort ‘Play It Again, Sam’. And when a relatively minor Allen film becomes the benchmark, you know you’re sliding down the quality scale.
Cast and crew
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2.5 / 5
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I didn't like the film, it was a bit slow, confusing, abrupt and no connection. the Alec Baldwin sage shadowing thing was to abrupt and confusing I kept asking myself was he really there? Or are all the characters able to talk to him in this particular scene? I wouldn't recommend this film to anyone unless they want spend the night critiquing the whole thing like me and my friends did. I regret watching this sad excuse for a movie.
Not as polished as Midnight in Paris but still a cozy, fun film for those nights when you don't feel like thinking too much.
Why bother casting Greta and then underusing her... Cruz is the best part of the film... the rest lets name drop camus,yeats,pound ect ect how witty i am...tripe served up as truffles